House bill would give parents time off to grieve a child's death

House bill would give parents time off to grieve a child's death
© Francis Rivera

House lawmakers want parents to be able to take time off from work to grieve the loss of a child.

Reps. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarThe Hill's 12:30 Report: House to vote on .2T stimulus after mad dash to Washington Conservative lawmakers tell Trump to 'back off' attacks on GOP colleague Lawmakers highlight flights back to DC for huge coronavirus vote MORE (R-Ariz.) introduced the Sarah Grace Act of 2015 on Tuesday. The bill would amend the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 to provide leave to employees due to the death of a son or daughter. 

The legislation is named after Sarah Grace Weippert, daughter of Matthew and Marissa Weippert, who died in 2002 after battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

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Matthew Weippert buried his 12-year-old daughter on a Wednesday and had to return to work five days later, on the following Monday.

The FMLA allows employees to take up to 12 weeks off to care for a sick family member, but it does not provide leave for the purpose of bereavement in the case of a child’s death.

Under the FMLA, employees are eligible for that job-protected leave as long as they have worked for an employer for at least 12 months, worked a minimum of 1,250 hours in the 12 months preceding the start of FMLA leave and are employed at a worksite where 50 or more employees are employed within 75 miles of that worksite.

“As a father, I cannot imagine coping with the loss of a child,” Israel said in a release. “Parents should never have to decide between their job and taking the proper time needed for both themselves and their family.”

On Tuesday, Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterSome Democrats growing antsy as Senate talks drag on Democrats fume over GOP coronavirus bill: 'Totally inadequate' Hillicon Valley: Twitter targets coronavirus misinformation | Facebook bans sanitizer, virus test ads to prevent price gouging | DHS defines critical jobs during outbreak | Remote working apps surge MORE (D-Mont.) introduced the Parental Bereavement Act, a companion bill in the Senate.